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The Last Slave Market

The Last Slave Market [Kindle Edition]

Alastair Hazell
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)

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Product Description


This is a humdinger of a tale. You might have thought that journeys into the heart of the Dark Continent with David Livingstone, Henry Morton Stanley and the likes of Richard Burton had already inspired so vast and breathless a literature that there were few surprises left to report. But that s the miracle of this story. Alastair Hazell s genius has been to plough through the huge and well-documented archive, follow his nose, and tell a tale from an entirely new perspective: the life of Dr John Kirk, an early companion to Dr Livingstone, and afterwards a humble Scottish medical officer and Acting British Consul in Zanzibar. In doing so he turns several accounts on their heads, rectifies a seriously skewed picture, rescues a reputation and on every page enthralls his readers . --Matthew Parris, The Spectator.

Book Description

The extraordinary story of John Kirk, the Scottish botanist who single-handedly ended the slave trade in East Africa.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 2349 KB
  • Print Length: 369 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1845296729
  • Publisher: Constable (4 July 2011)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B005A2ORXY
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #128,115 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
By Andrewn
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
From the first lines of the prologue, in the dying light on Lake Nyasa, Alastair Hazell's story is gripping, and beautifully told. He knows his subject, the unhurried asphyxiation of the slave trade, in sufficient detail to challenge our collectively received wisdoms, and he explores the many resulting complexities with a deep humanity. Above all, he evokes the adventures and hardships, the certainties and uncertainties that the British encountered in East Africa. To the story he brings the smells and sharp shadows - the dangerous flavours - of Zanzibar, and mixes them in with the realpolitik of slavery at the time. And threaded through the story, the detailed and determined Dr Kirk is encouraged gradually onto centre stage, quietly influencing the turns of history for Zanzibar, the British and the Slave Trade. I congratulate Alastair Hazell on this subtle and marking book, and commend it to anyone interested in the region, our history or the troubled story of slavery.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Zanzibar - and Britain, Africa and Oman 11 Mar 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
The author found a fascinating place - Zanzibar in the 19th Century - a fascinating issue (Arab slaving in Africa) and a fascinating central character - Dr Kirk, the British Consul, who played a critical role in ending that slavery. Characters include the Omani Sultans of Zanzibar (and their harems), Tippu Tip (a slaver whose caravans dominated Central Africa), David Livingstone, and an Arab princess who eloped to Europe. Zanzibar was a unique mixture of Arab, African and (later) Indian and European culture, that dominated east Africa and grew rich on slaves and spices.

Hazell brings all of that to life, with a central story around Kirk's decades long but finally successful struggle to end slavery. The book includes analysis - notably of slavery's long history and economic importance in Zanzibar - the atmosphere of Zanzibar - from life in slave market to life among the Europeans - takes in events in Africa, Oman and Britain - and some fascinating characters to give a human dimension. It's neither sensational nor too dry and academic.

I would recommend highly for anyone interested in slavery or colonialism as a well written book on a fascinating topic. And equally highly for anyone visiting Zanzibar who wants to understand its history and culture.
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28 of 30 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Slaves and elephants' teeth 4 July 2011
By Q
First rate. This is above all a beautifully written, thoroughly researched and wholly absorbing story - but it also gives a fresh perspective on a fascinating part of our colonial history. We have prided ourselves on the enlightened abolition of slavery; on the selflessness and sacrifice of our missionaries; and on the quality and disinterestedness of our foreign policy and overseas administration. The truth is somewhat different: we tolerated and even connived in the continuation of slavery on the East African coast long after it had been "abolished"; we lionised men like Livingstone, whose character, on examination, proves to be less than heroic; we let bureaucracy suppress initiative and narrow interests prevent change. John Kirk,the focal point of this book, was a man of quiet principle, diplomatic skill, commitment and energy, whose part in closing down the East African slave trade puts him alongside the "great names" of the Victorian era. Alastair Hazell captures the essence of colonial Africa from the clash of cultures to the smell of Zanzibar. Thoroughly enjoyable.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Format:Kindle Edition
I bought this book out of curiosity about the role of the British consular service in the emerging colonial development of Africa.
I had just finished reading Mario Vargas Llosa's fictionalised account of another British consular official, namely Sir Roger Casement who was consul to Congo Free State port of Boma in the African Congo in 1903. Sir Roger was feted, is still feted, particularly in Ireland, as a hero, a man, amongst the first to recognise the horrors of colonial exploitation, a friend of the indigenous African, a fearless anti-slaver and a beaming and unique example, particularly in the Consular service, particularly amongst the British, of a concerned and considerate humanitarian, most unlike his other consular colleagues, who are, by implication, mere tools of their Imperial Government's policies.

In the Irish republican context, and indeed in Llosa's book, this humanitarian insight of Sir Roger is attributable to him only because he is Irish. Had he been an English born consular official, or indeed as Kirk was, a Scott's born consular official, then the thrust of the argument advanced on behalf of Sir Roger is that there would not have developed, could not have developed, the insightful consular official, the fearless consular official, the friend of the indigenous consular official or the humanitarian consular official.
I am an admirer of Sir Roger Casement but often think this view of his role as a consular official is somewhat over egged by the Irish. His investigations and his report on atrocities in the Congo were carried out on his Government's instructions and insistence.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars slavery
This book is the life story of Dr.Sir John Kirk (1832-1922) explorer,botanist,doctor, diplomat and a graduate of Edinburgh University. Read more
Published 4 months ago by G. I. Forbes
4.0 out of 5 stars The British knew what the realities were
I was always impressed from a young age of the honour of great men like Livingstone and Bartle Frere, Alastair Hazell has clearly shown in a delightfully easy book to read that... Read more
Published 7 months ago by Richard Cardesi
5.0 out of 5 stars An engrossing and wonderfully written profile of a great man and a...
Detailed, accurate, well researched and a good read. highly recommended. A rare overview of Zanzibar in context. Three more words.
Published 11 months ago by ewan stirling
4.0 out of 5 stars Hazell makes the case for John Kirk's overlooked role in African and...
Alastair Hazell's carefully researched book is an overdue correction to the history of a pivotal period in the history of east and central Africa - the second half of the... Read more
Published 12 months ago by Cornhill
4.0 out of 5 stars A good book about a part of the slave trade that is often forgotten
This is a really great read. The story of the campaign to end the slave trade based around Zanzibar in the nineteenth century, and the story of the one man who was largely... Read more
Published 13 months ago by Simon Binning
4.0 out of 5 stars good book
a good and interesting read about a subject that is not well known. Not exactly gripping but well worth the read.
Published 14 months ago by debs4g
5.0 out of 5 stars Completing the picture
The research that went into this book was meticulous and prodigious, and the story it tells about African-based slavery is a courageous one, considering the politically correct... Read more
Published 15 months ago by Dr Tony English
5.0 out of 5 stars riveting read
I read this while on holiday in Zanzibar. Not only a genuinely riveting read, but the historical detail has enriched my general knowledge enormously.
Published 17 months ago by Sassy Varmint
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent
I looked for relevant books whilst on holidays in Tanzania/Zanzibar.
I found this to very well researched and written and an excellent read.
Highly recommended.
Published 24 months ago by Austriauk
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this was clearly not a trade like the trans-Atlantic traffic from West Africa, &quote;
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